It’s still early going, of course. Besides budget-cutting zeal and NIMBYs, there are two big things to worry about. First, stations may be added for political reasons, defeating the “express train” concept:
The Wilmington [Delaware] station is Amtrak’s 11th-busiest in the nation, so Castle said he would “fight like heck” to make sure any high-speed trains stopped here.
I won’t comment on Wilmington specifically, but we can expect to see this kind of thing all along the line.
Secondly, they’re looking for a public-private partnership. Now, I’m not ideologically opposed to this kind of thing if it gets projects done. But if one of Amtrak’s few profitable routes gets cannibalized by a private operator, that can only hurt service elsewhere in the nation.
TGV image from Flickr contributor vorgefuhl